Well…for anyone who was worried about the F1 driver market being static, Lewis Hamilton has made the most seismic move since, well, the last time he opted to move teams.
A switch from Mercedes to Ferrari awaits the seven-time World Champion in 2025, with a super-team set to take to the grid with Charles Leclerc on the other side of the garage.
Whatever happens next, the world is standing to attention. Here’s a look at what our writers made of the move, and how it might pan out for both Hamilton and Ferrari.
I am still in a state of shock, quite frankly! I thought the time for Lewis Hamilton to make this dream move had been and gone but here we are.
Lewis Hamilton made his first bold move leaving McLaren for Mercedes and he is certainly making another one here. What I am really struggling to see past at the moment is just how much this looks to reflect badly on Mercedes and the direction they are potentially heading in.
What does this move say about the W15 and its eventual successor in 2026? If Lewis Hamilton of all people feels more confident about Ferrari’s project compared to Mercedes then Toto Wolff is going to have to really rally the troops at Brackley and Brixworth to show him that he has made the wrong decision.
But, as we know already, Hamilton has a knack of making good decisions and my heart is saying he has made the right one again. Head? Get back to me on that…
One thing is for sure: if Hamilton can win his eighth World Championship and do it Ferrari colours to end their long, long title drought, all the GOAT debates and discussions can be stopped once and for all.
It says a lot about the ramifications of this deal that, even though I’m neutral on the subject, my inner F1 fan cannot stop smiling about the idea of the sport’s most successful driver teaming up with its most successful team.
I also keep hearing a beaming Sebastian Vettel in my head: “Everybody is a Ferrari fan. Even if they are not, they are Ferrari fans. Even if you go to the Mercedes guys, even if they say ‘Oh yeah, Mercedes, this is the greatest brand in the world’, they are Ferrari fans.”
There’s just something about that Prancing Horse that intoxicates people.
But beyond an emotional level, there is sporting reason to believe that Hamilton might well have timed his jump at the right time.
Just as he did by going from McLaren to Mercedes, this move will come one year before a huge regulation change, giving him a year to settle in, find his feet and then go for it when the playing field is wiped clean in 2026.
One thing in Hamilton’s favour is that he’s always been unafraid to go up against top-class team-mates, and Charles Leclerc will be another to add to a list that includes World Champions in Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg – and this will provide the perfect test for the current Ferrari driver to see if he’s up to the task against one of the sport’s greats.
The Fred Vasseur and John Elkann links are also significant. Having risen through the ranks under Vasseur’s tutelage at ART and been in regular contact with the Ferrari chairman over the years, it’s clear the trust is there to be able to make it work – so he is not going into this sight unseen.
Leaving ‘my team’, as Hamilton has so often called Mercedes over the years, will not have been an easy decision, but this could end up being the late-career surge that he needs, as well as the experience and knowhow that the Scuderia have been crying out for at a time when they have been fielding their youngest ever combined driver duo.
Well, this has come like a bolt out of the blue, hasn’t it? My jaw is on the floor, to be honest.
But, as for whether it’s a good move or not, I think it will play out as being in Hamilton’s favour. I was quite a nay-sayer about Hamilton’s switch to Mercedes ahead of 2013, and look at how wrong that was!
I believe Ferrari is on an upward trajectory under Fred Vasseur – he seems to have identified the problems that made Ferrari so chaotic, which has been their real downfall in recent years as opposed to making weak cars.
Let’s not forget that it was Ferrari who absolutely nailed the start of the current regulation cycle, even moreso than Red Bull, only to have their speed completely neutered by mid-season rule changes following lobbying from other teams.
Ferrari hasn’t been able to rediscover that form with the floor rule changes, but Hamilton should be optimistic that Ferrari can get a revolutionary rule change right.
One year of getting his feet under the table with the Scuderia, make some headway on destabilising Charles Leclerc, and gear up for a very different F1 in 2026 – Hamilton has timed this to perfection in the past and, for him to turn his back on his ’til-I-die’ team at Mercedes, he must be fairly convinced the future’s bright at Maranello.
If that’s not the case, racing and not winning titles with Ferrari is likely better for his long-term brand, legacy, and finances than racing and not winning titles with Mercedes. Won’t it be strange seeing Hamilton driving with a non-Mercedes engine for the first time in his F1 career?
Let’s be honest, anyone without a Red Bull logo on the front of their car isn’t winning a World Championship anytime soon which makes Hamilton’s move all the more easy to believe.
If there was an F1 bucket list, driving for Ferrari would be on every driver’s notebook. It’s what made Sebastian Vettel move there and Michael Schumacher before him. It’s what makes the Ferrari red the recognisable colour of Formula 1. It’s what makes Ferrari a title contender every season even if they realistically aren’t.
Hamilton’s F1 career has been near-perfect from an incredible rookie season to seven world titles and a stint in Maranello is the perfect way to end it. His Indian Summer will be spent alongside former colleague Fred Vasseur, who has made it clear just how much he wants him, as well as competition alongside Charles Leclerc who he can also impart some wisdom to.
Leaving Mercedes was no doubt a tough decision for Hamilton but when he sees the first image of him driving in Monza, surrounded by the Tifosi, it will feel worth it.